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Gangsters: Organized Crime remake

Discussion in 'Codex Workshop' started by Quilty, Mar 28, 2021.

  1. Quilty Magister

    Quilty
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    For the past month I've been working on a clone of one of my all-time favourite games, Gangsters: Organized Crime. Not sure how many of you are familiar with it, but it was a simulation of a crime organization set in an open, procedurally generated city with randomized gangsters you could hire and send on missions. Essentially, your goal was to control enough territory through extortion or violence and amass enough money and power to defeat the other families, or you could just play as you wished, with whatever goal in mind.

    The game was divided into two phases: the planning phase, when time was paused, and the real-time phase in which you watched your gangsters carry out your orders. Personally, I always found that second phase too passive for the player, with very limited options for gameplay during the working week. I much preferred planning out the actions and then browsing through my crew's reports, which is why I am planning to only keep the planning phase and just simulate the actions being carried out, after which the player receives a report on their success or failure. This would, of course, also decrease development time.

    If there's anyone here who played the original, I'd love to hear your opinions: what would be your preference, keep the working week phase or ditch it? Also, which other parts of the game would you like to see fleshed out, modified or removed altogether? What did you like and dislike about the game? And would you be at all interested in playing a game inspired by the original?

    Currently I have the following parts finished:

    - implemented the procedural generation for the city; still need to add some of the possible types of businesses and municipal buildings that can be generated

    - implemented the basics of the UI for the crew (orders, reports, lieutenant pages in the "notepad", which functions as your UI)

    - implemented procedural generation of gangsters, with skills and attributes

    - implemented two types of orders, extortion and collection of protection


    Orthographic camera view:



    Current version (perspective camera view):



    Early version screenshots:

    Show Spoiler


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2021
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  2. Zanzoken Arcane

    Zanzoken
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    I am really interested in something like this, but I have never played Gangsters so I can't really give any useful input about its design.

    Good luck though, it looks like you're off to a good start.
     
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  3. Quilty Magister

    Quilty
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    Thanks, man! G:OC is available from GOG, but it can be a bit of a hassle to get it to run on modern PCs.
     
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  4. Alphons Savant

    Alphons
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    In the order of importance to me (from most important):
    • I wasn't fan of the combat in Gangsters- if I went to war I would just bomb AI base and wait for cops to deal with them (also it was too easy to find AI bases later on with a dozen of trucks parked outside). No idea how to deal with it. Separate TB fights whenever combat triggers? Drop it entirely?
    • More fleshed out diplomacy (not just a slider)- trade resources, maybe run joint business (supply other gang's speakeasy with your booze), go to war together
    • More opportunities to corrupt justice- bribe judges, jurors, feds. Hire police informants. Rig your opponent's trial or frame his henchman for murder.
    • More businesses. Gangsters had a nice selection of both legal and illegal opportunities, but it could always be expanded.
    • More equipment- weapons, vehicles.

    Excited to see another game like Gangsters after so long. Good luck!
     
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  5. normie Arcane Patron Zionist Agent

    normie
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    Insert Title Here
    I see news

    well it better look like a newspaper
     
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  6. Quilty Magister

    Quilty
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    Thanks for the detailed reply!
    • Yeah, I disliked combat too. I could certainly add some kind of very visually simplified turn-based combat phase, although that sounds like a common pitfall for these types of games. What I was thinking about doing is combat that gets resolved in code, and you merely get a report afterwards, sort of like Dwarf Fortress: after each week, you'd get a detailed breakdown of who engaged who and with what kinds of results (death, injury, victory/failure, successful/unsuccessful evasion of an ambush, etc.). I feel like some sort of combat is necessary, but I don't want to get too bogged down in its mechanics.
    • I definitely have plans for a more detailed diplomacy, with diplomatic missions to propose (illegal) trade agreements of the sort you mention, convince others to ally with you against a common enemy, and ways to resolve conflict diplomatically (if you bombed their business, and they know it was you, you can offer something to bury the hatchet, like a business of your own, some amount of cash, or the head of a gangster in your crew that they want to see killed). I do want to start small, however, with simple missions, and then build on it.
    • Corruption of justice is something I see as essential for a good portrayal of the period: bribes and informants are a must. I didn't think of rigging the opponent's trial or framing him, but I'll put that in the idea box.
    • I'm still working on adding most of the businesses from the original. I felt like it already offered a good selection of period-appropriate businesses, but I was never entirely clear on some of the mechanics behind the illegal ones (like picking ideal fronts). Those aspects will need to be exposed to the player in a much clearer way.
    • Each character has a character panel and can equip inventory items, the system is in place and the basic types of items are there (knives, firearms, explosives). I agree that the original's arsenal needs to be expanded.
     
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  7. Kalin Unwanted Dumbfuck Zionist Agent

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    Gangsters rocks and you're an amazing guy for doing this. I strongly support ditching the real time (with pause) work week, it's beautiful and a lot of fun in single player but what I always wanted was to play Gangsters in PBEM with bros and your remake would be perfect for that. Planning and having the turns compute off-screen would be best, it would be similar to Chaos Overlords (which for some dumb reason never came with PBEM despite being entirely turn-based). Think about it man!

    Anyway some things I really miss in the original:

    Ability to rename gangsters and switch avatars, create your own gangsters from scratch
    Specify amount of starting cash/vehicles/weapons
    Set the amount of starting cops/FBI/citizens in the city (you can do this now thanks to modding)
    Ability to set specific win conditions (change the amount of clean money needed to go straight etc.)
    Knives/assault are broken, real shame
    Judges were supposed to hold trials for ALL busted hoods and you could bribe the DA/witnesses/judge, that was scrapped and only applies to your gang leader
    As said above, actual diplomacy

    To be fair, I don't think it's an easy thing to make a proper A.I. but if you make the game MP-oriented, you could add a barter system where you put things on the table (think Lords of Magic or SMAC PBEM) and if both guys agree that stuff will switch place. Not sure how hard that would be to implement, but the idea would be to let you trade hoods, resources, weapons, controlled buildings etc.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2021
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  8. bionicman Learned

    bionicman
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    I like how you've designed the GUI. Very good.

    I know it's still (early?) in development, but you should consider making the city layout generation more interesting. E.g. add roundabouts, road-width variation (some streets could be wider than the other). The patterns are too samey as it is now, at first I didn't even notice it was supposed to be a city. With a little work there I believe it will look *a lot* better.

    Also, you ought to replace that photoshop/gimp green texture with something else, it looks kind of ugly. Since you're going for the 2d smooth look when it comes to the rest of the city, perhaps go the same route with the green areas, i.e. without the texture effect (although, that's all just a suggestion, it could look good with some texture too). I believe it would look more interesting if you added small details like tiny trash cans, lamp posts, trees, small dots walking around the city (pedestrians), and small rectangles of different colors driving around the city (cars). Note, of course, for this to work properly you must have proper 2d sprite drawing optimization (i.e. a sprite atlas).

    Anyways, keep it up, good work so far.
     
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  9. Quilty Magister

    Quilty
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    Thank you very much for the feedback!

    I absolutely agree, the city generation needs more work to look realistic, this was just the first pass to get something functional. Unfortunately, getting pedestrians and cars moving around the city will have to wait for now because it requires pathfinding and finding a solution that wouldn't be too "expensive". I'm currently still working on implementing different types of orders and their execution, hopefully I'll have more to show soon.
     
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  10. Quilty Magister

    Quilty
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    Update #1: Traffic in the city

    While I'm certainly planning on skipping the real-time part of the work week, I did feel like adding some life to the map, so that it's not as static while you're assigning orders. I've been working on a homemade kind of pathfinding system for pedestrians and vehicles, and this is as far as I've got: it's certainly far from perfect, but it avoids A* pathfinding and is therefore somewhat cheaper. I still need to make the vehicles and pedestrians aware of each other so they stop running into one another. As things stand right now, the pedestrians are quite suicidal. Obviously, the graphics are still placeholder, but hey, we've got some life in the scene now!

    EDIT:

     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2021
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  11. Quilty Magister

    Quilty
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    Here is the updated version with updated map visuals, less suicidal pedestrians and vehicles that are aware of pedestrians and each other, let me know which view you prefer.

    Orthographic camera view:



    Perspective camera view:

     
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  12. ghostdog Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Patron

    ghostdog
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    Perspective all the way, as long as it doesn't create gameplay blind zones.
     
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  13. Quilty Magister

    Quilty
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    Now that I'm working more closely on the types of orders, I keep comparing my work with Gangsters' manual. Interestingly, this is what it has to say on Extortion and Collection:

    "HINT
    As a guideline, one hood can Extort or Intimidate between
    two and three blocks each week, whilst a hood Collecting
    Protection can visit around eight blocks in a week."

    In my experience, hoods could extort even up to twelve businesses, much more than just two or three. I was wondering if this number was maybe bumped up during development and no one told the authors of the manual. But now that I'm comparing these numbers, I actually always felt that hoods shouldn't be able to extort so many businesses in one week, because as it stands your territory expands too quickly for my taste. How do you guys feel about this? Lower the number or keep it as it is? Or perhaps keep the same high number but increase the amount of crime this action generates and the level of notice it draws from the authorities...
     
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  14. Proktophantasmist Barely Literate

    Proktophantasmist
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    Hi, I really enjoyed Gangsters and still would be, if it weren't for the Hoods don't go to trial Bug, that anoys me a lot. So I'm really glad that someone is trying to port the game to modern times. What I have seen so far from your work it looks very promising to me. Especially that you try to preserve the artstyle of the original game.
    Do you know the game project "Gangs of New Eden"? There is a closed fb group about it. Some guy tried to built his own Gangstzers clone and had some promising progress as well, but apparently stopped working on it. Maybe you could profit from his work. Especially in the graphics section he has shown some nice demos. If you like I could try to connect you guys.

    Feedback:
    - I strongly support Alphonse's points, especially that the combat part needs some overhaul
    - I personally really liked the work week and real time aspect of the game. But it is true, that in the original game, it was very hard to control your hoods properly or at lweast get a clear oversight over the tasks your hoods are carrying out. So there was, in my opinion, the biggest weakness of the game apart from its obvious bugs. But ditching this part completely would cost the game a lot of its immersion. Watching your gangster silencing a rat or interfering the patrol order to take out some enemy gangsters roaming your turf, for me, was key for felling like a true 1930s Gangster :)
    - love the perspective over the orthographic view

    Greetings and keep up the good work :)

    P.S.: One of the images from the fb-group (https://www.facebook.com/GangsOfNewEden)
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2021
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  15. Quilty Magister

    Quilty
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    Thank you for the feedback! The more I work on the project, the more I realize that the work week is actually essential for the right feel of the game, and it really does add to the immersion. However, it will need to be improved so that the player has more agency during that period and is not mostly an observer.

    I have heard of Gangs of New Eden, I remember liking what I saw at the time. Thanks for suggesting to connect me with that project, but I prefer to work alone.

    Sorry for the lack of updates, but right now I'm mostly working on what I've heard people call 'dark work', i.e. stuff that is difficult to show off, such as improvements in pathfinding systems for cars, trams, and pedestrians, and tweaking the various orders. I'll put together a video when I have more to show. I'd really like to nail down the moving parts of the map first - how and where entities walk and how they interact with the world, because then slotting the week orders into that part is much easier, rather than jumping back and forth between the two elements of the game and trying to juggle both.
     
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  16. Quilty Magister

    Quilty
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    Update #2: More traffic work




    Put together another short video showing the current state of traffic:

    - implemented trams that move around the city using the tram rail network

    - the trams and the cars are aware of each other and of pedestrians, and both types of vehicles stop to let others pass, while pedestrians are not yet aware of the traffic

    - added a shader that shows the location of pedestrians as bright green spots when they are obscured by something - it's a bit glaring, but hey, at least you can't lose sight of them

    - reworked pathfinding - it's a homebrew system that avoids A* for NPCs, but the performance definitely needs more work; currently I'm in the "make it work" stage, the "make it fast" stage will come later

    - reworked the visuals a bit, hopefully it is somewhat more enjoyable to look at; added a few more props for visual interest, such as mailboxes, manholes, steam/smoke, etc.

    - still working on properly showing the actions of your hoods during the working week - that part is still all code-based, actually seeing them move around the map will be gradually implemented
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2021
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  17. Tyranicon A Memory of Eternity Developer

    Tyranicon
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    Its sad that Gangsters didn't get enough love when it was released. I remember it being a super interesting game for the time.

    This is badass, hope you keep going with it.
     
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  18. Quilty Magister

    Quilty
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    Update #3: Extortion and UI changes

    Here's the latest video showing the UI in action: promoting a lieutenant, assigning hoods, and giving the first type of order, extortion. The video also shows one of the hoods carrying out the order by using a car to reach his destination. The card showing the hood's status is seen in the upper right corner to enable the player to follow which order is currently active.

    There are still some glitches with the pathfinding, and the hoods' portraits are still placeholders that I need to work on more (not sure whether to keep the pixel art style). You will also see some blank spaces in the UI where some other elements are supposed to come in the future, such as options for reordering the list of your hoods according to types of stat, such as organization or business.

     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2021
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  19. d1nolore Learned

    d1nolore
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    Well done on the graphics and GUI, looks good. What platforms are planning to release on?
     
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  20. Quilty Magister

    Quilty
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    Thank you! For now this is only planned for Windows, I have no experience producing for other platforms. On the other hand, as I am making this in Unity, I think porting for other platforms may not be too difficult, the engine seems to offer good support in that regard.
     
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  21. Blaza Educated

    Blaza
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    It should export to Mac and Linux just fine, provided you aren't using too many 3rd party code assets. Some of those use windows specific api calls.

    If you decide to try it out I can help you test the Linux version. Or at the very least report how it works on Wine.

    Cool project by the way! I never played the original but I love these types of games.
     
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  22. Quilty Magister

    Quilty
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    Hmm, no, I don't think I'm using any 3rd party code assets, just a bunch of free 3d assets, somewhat modified to suit the theme. But thanks for the heads up! And thanks for the offer to test the Linux version, I may just take you up on that when the time comes.

    The original is very cool and has never been replicated, not even by its "successors" such as Omerta or Empire of Sin. I think it's wonderfully designed and just needs a bit of fixing in areas where it doesn't communicate its mechanics to the player, and some of those need to be expanded a bit.
     
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  23. Quilty Magister

    Quilty
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    Update #4: Extortion, collection, and the finances tab

    Today I am showing off the following:

    - the full process of assigning an extortion order followed by assigning a collection order in the next week
    - the circle indicator on the lieutenant page that gradually fills as you assign more orders; I never really liked the functional side of that indicator in the original as I felt it did not communicate things clearly to the player, but I like the way it looks so I've kept it for now
    - the way territory indicators are currently implemented
    - the finances page - I tried to replicate the categories and the style of the one from the original as I quite like the way it is done there; let me know what you think
    - basic game speed controls
    - (bonus - you'll also see a bug in action: after completing one of his orders, the hood leaves the car he used to reach his destination and returns to the HQ on foot; I'll have to fix that one, must be something wrong with calculating distance)

     
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  24. Incantatar Cipher

    Incantatar
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    I guess you don't have the Prima strategy guide to Gangsters, right? It had quite a bit of information on the game that wasn't in the manual and you can't even find online. Unfortunately I think I threw mine away (thank you gf).
     
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  25. Quilty Magister

    Quilty
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    No, this is the first time I'm hearing about that. I tried searching the Internet Archive, but only found Prima's guide for Gangsters 2. It's also available on eBay, for a whopping 72 US dollars.
     
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